Put-in-Bay, Ohio–Village and Township are considering new ordinances placing limits on alcohol consumption, according to sources involved in winter meetings with Village and Township representatives and a political action group called Citizens Against Substance Abuse (CASA). Citing scientific reviews which have concluded that “restricting the hours when alcohol may be sold is an effective strategy for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms,” the public study group has presented a plan of action for the Village and Township governing bodies. Specific types of alcohol-related harms mentioned were “alcohol-related diseases (e.g., liver cirrhosis), alcohol-impaired driving, alcohol-related crashes, unintentional or intentional injuries, and violent crime.” According to CASA spokesperson, there was sufficient evidence in ten qualifying studies to conclude “extended hours of alcohol sales increased alcohol-related harms.”
Actual ordinance and resolution content has not been finalized; however, committee considerations based on studies of outlet density, which is high at Put-in-Bay, suggest alcohol consumption and related harms can be controlled via halting alcohol sales at midnight, limiting individual alcohol purchases, and increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages.
Local business owners with establishments selling alcohol have refused to comment for the record, but the general consensus is that pre-emption laws at higher levels of government (a state law that takes precedence over and allows what a local law is trying to restrict) and opposition by groups whose commercial interests may be affected will loom large in the forthcoming process.
Note: Government action described above exists in a parallel universe known as April Fool’s!
Joking aside, alcoholism remains a massive social problem and should be recognized as a serious threat to community well-being. The Center for Disease Control reports “excessive alcohol use is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths in the United States each year and $249 billion in economic costs in 2010. Excessive alcohol use includes
- Binge drinking (defined as consuming 4 or more alcoholic beverages per occasion for women or 5 or more drinks per occasion for men).
- Heavy drinking (defined as consuming 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week for women or 15 or more alcoholic beverages per week for men).
- Any drinking by pregnant women or those younger than age 21.